Saturday, March 3, 2012

On Joyful Noises and How I Don't Hate Them

NOTE: Because this post is about music, there are a lot of links below. For each of the artists, I have provided the link to a YouTube video for one of my favorite songs by each of them. There is no judging allowed whatsoever. Thank you.

I adore music.

I pretty much live it. Breathe it.

If someone were to uninstall my Pandora app, I don’t know that I’d die, I think I’d probably just cease to exist.

There’s no genre that I pledge my exclusive allegiance to. My interests range from the classy, like Mumford and Sons, Corrine Bailey Rae, Florence + the Machine (whom I really did love before everyone else claimed to), and probably my absolute favorite, Adele (ditto. For realz, people. If you didn’t do an interpretive dance to “Cold Shoulder” and “Best for Last” when “19” came out, step off because you’re on the bandwagon) to the…ummm.. questionable. I’ve been guilty of knowing too many lyrics from Gaga or Ke$ha, along with a little bit of Katy Perry. I really have no shame.

You’ll notice that there’s no Christian music on there. And behold, you’ve discovered the inspiration for what I’m writing right now. Now shhh…I’ll get to my point in a second.

Most of my friends at Gateway were music majors. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be an ed major at a table with five music majors? I might as well have been at a table with people speaking Mandarin. My proudest moment was seeing a t-shirt once that said “I’m a fermata. Hold me” and LOLing because I took piano lessons for a week when I was ten.

I would spend hours in the practice room (or, on the right day, laundry room) listening to various artists between whom I honestly couldn’t differentiate, while my friends prepared for the week’s chapel services. Times in the car were spent as impromptu concerts and/or practice  sessions as I listened to the same fongs over and over again ad nauseum until my eyes would reflexively roll right out of my head.
Why? Because I don’t get any of the theory or technical artistry that my friends do. (Sorry, guys!) I’ll sing it worshipfully in church because it’s there, and I’ll have an uneducated opinion that it sounds good, but honestly, I don’t find much distinction or originality in the Christian music that I hear anymore. This is in addition to the fact that most of the music I hear in the contemporary Christian category could be easily mistaken for a “secular” love song. No distinction whatsoever. In the words of one of my best friends, “boyfriend Jesus songs”.

On the flip side of this argument, I am perfectly willing to suggest that perhaps the reasoning behind my apprehension towards music in the contemporary Christian genre is my lack of consistent exposure. Because I do favor alternative music, I don’t generally make my music selection intentionally faith based.

Which brings me to this past week. At my workplace (a Christian day care center, for those of you not in the loop), we have limited musical selections at our disposal. Basically, you can either play children’s CDs based towards the super-flaky Conscious Discipline curriculum, or you can play the local Christian radio station. Let me first say that I’m not by any means a fan of this station. It’s run by students at MVNU and honestly, there’s nothing overtly wrong with it. It just features students who I suspect OD’d on their daily dose of happy flakes and think that everything they say is a.) incredibly interesting and/or b.) hiLARious. However, you can only listen to songs such as “I use the potty respectfully” about 14 times in a five hour shift before you go completely Looney Toons. Soooo…perky Christian radio it is.

Here’s what shocked me. Despite the bubbly nature of those running the staton, I didn’t totally hate it. In fact, over the four-ish months that I’ve worked at the center, I’ve developed a familiarity and relative fondness for some of what I was hearing. Don’t get me wrong. I would go home and listen to my other, preferred music. But it wasn’t the torture I anticipated and I noticed subtle changes in my thought process and attitude as I listened.

This prompted an experiment. What if I cut out the other stuff for a week? Just solid Christian music for seven days. Not the radio station, because let’s be serious. I can handle five hours, but with my constant musical intake? No. So my non-working hours have become supplemented with KirkFranklin, Israel Houghton, and Royal Tailor (my personal very favorite) Pandora stations.

I’m not even going to lie to you. It’s not been easy at all. Today is day six, in case you were wondering. But I’ve liked it. I’ve actually enjoyed it. And I don’t feel the need to cut everything from my music completely, but I do feel like the week has given me new insight and appreciation for music that I really wasn’t giving enough credit or time to. This music will likely become a bigger part of what I listen to, and I’m strangely okay with that.

Here’s all I’m saying. Don’t judge what you haven’t tried. Most things are at least worth a sincere thought and/or effort. It won’t kill you. In fact, it will probably make you a more rounded individual with cultured tastes.

And who knows? You might find something that will actually enhance your life.

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1 comment:

MotherT said...

I checked out the last song. Pretty good!!! I've never heard of 21:03 before, I think I've been missing something.